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The worst building in the world

759 posts in this topic

The architect gave a set of Legos to their 5-year-old child and said "build something". Then the architect sketched their children's design and sold it to somebody who thought it would be a "radical" and "novel" building concept.

EDIT: Welcome to page 26!

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The Millennium Tower in San Francisco, to me, is not the world's ugliest building despite being a top-end luxury high-rise condominium building in the heart of the city, but it is sinking and tilting, and lawsuits are now being filed over that.  The building's homeowner's association is suing Millennium Partners, builder of the tower, and the Transbay Joint Powers Authority, claiming that nearby construction is causing the sinking; and now the San Francisco city attorney is suing the building's developer, claiming that they withheld information on the sinking from potential buyers.




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Former AT&T Building / Valero Energy Corp. Building at Avenue B and McCullough Avenue

San Antonio, Texas


(Image by The Rivard Report and Google Earth)




(Images by Juanito M. Garza, San Antonio Express-News)

It's pretty bleak.  1980s utilitarian architecture for back office services, except this is such a narrowly-focused, institutional utilitarianism that the blocks are ironically dysfunctional against human use and have been drearily vacant for years.  Avenue B...the main street didn't even garner the dignity of a proper name!

Admittedly, when these were built, this portion of the San Antonio River upstream from the touristy Riverwalk had been poorly engineered and neglected, with its flows altered, its channel lined with concrete walls, the waters spoilt with trash, and the surrounding areas zoned as blighted light industry.  The reasonable developer move was to build a concrete retaining wall to block off a property from the ugliness of the river.  This section of the river has been rehabilitated as the Museum Reach segment of the San Antonio River Improvement Project, which essentially extended the Riverwalk from downtown and the new Tobin Center for the Performing Arts northwards to the San Antonio Museum of Art and the popular Pearl Brewery urban redevelopment node.  With a re-landscaped river and large investment projects along its length, this long-blighted area of the inner city is now a hotbed of development.

CPS Energy, the local municipal utility, had been looking to consolidate its offices into a new headquarters, especially as its current headquarters in a downtown Riverwalk building built in the 1920s had become too small for its current 800 occupants and was in need of major renovation.  It was originally envisioned that a new downtown skyscraper tower be constructed, but internal leadership politics among the executive board led to the less grandiose plan of reusing the former AT&T Building.  1,200 workers will be moved into the new River North campus, while its downtown Riverwalk buildings will be released for other development.

As seen from conceptual plans approved yesterday, the building is to be completely gutted, internally reorganized, and re-skinned:


The concrete retaining walls cutting off the building from the river are also supposed to come down.

Lipstick on a pig perhaps, but, if they do this right, maybe it will no longer be the ugliest, most banal, most dysfunctional building I've seen recently.

korver likes this

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Louis Brown Athletic Center in Piscataway, NJ

It's an 8'000 seat Indoor Stadium used by Rutgers that comes off as way to small (Most of Rutgers rivals have at least 50% more seating at the minimum) and suffers typical poor aging effects that most large scale brutalist buildings suffer. Also it just looks Ugly in my opinion.




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Albert Alkek Library, Texas State University-San Marcos


This is the library on my  college campus. I always felt it was lacking windows. It's really just a 7 story brutalist marble mass that is more well known for its killer stairs.   

*not my photo

korver, TekindusT and Silur like this

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Nice department store you have there. It would totally look like one if it wasn't because department stores don't have stairs at the entrance.

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On 4/9/2017 at 6:25 AM, TekindusT said:

Nice department store you have there. It would totally look like one if it wasn't because department stores don't have stairs at the entrance.

It does kind of look like one *:lol: I hadn't noticed! It also has that tacky reddish/pink carpet on the inside that a lot of department stores have. My school is definitely not known for its architectural prowess.

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I recall seeing that on the San Marcos skyline every time I commuted between San Antonio and Austin on I-35.

At least it is square...very, very square!  The University of Texas at Austin has the Perry-Castañeda Library, which is a Brutalist pinwheel:



I'm already lost even with the red dot marking "You are here."  With a floor plan like that, the stacks on each level are aligned at funky angles into starburst-shaped donuts, and even each rack has too be at unique, inconsistent lengths.  Coordinating any rack and shelf labeling scheme into an intelligibly workable system is impossible.  You should not require a zig-zagging map just to find the emergency fire stairs!  Most people followed one of two rules in this place:  either stick to the center and don't venture too far outward, or stay along the perimeter walls and don't deviate too far inward.  Those are rules for navigating a mmorpg dungeon maze!  The basement map room floor plan really does look like the video game dungeon level of the final boss.

This is one building that was so disorienting that I almost stumbled over.  The street layout is a normal grid, but the entrance of the PCL is on an angled section of an orthogonal wall that opens onto an angled plaza on a corner intersection, and so visitors exit at a angle and have to turn and zig-zag through the plaza to orient themselves.  Several of the other buildings surrounding the plaza tried to emulate the PCL's angles, while others remained orthogonal to the streets.  I stepped out of the pinwheeling building once, and had the peculiar feeling that all the surrounding buildings were also pinwheeling, and the disorientation was so viscerally intense that I had to grip a railing in the plaza.  It was not unlike how one stumbles down the shallow stairs and hidden ramps in the dark of a movie theater auditorium after sitting for two hours with your neck craned towards the light screen.

Of course, like all such institutional buildings, the PCL makes it pretty clear you are entering a fortress asylum of the Brave New World:



Ironically, UT Austin once had a main library still popularly acclaimed for its humane beauty, with an interior considered one of the great architectural spaces in Texas.  Cass Gilbert's Battle Hall is now the library of the School of Architecture.


This stuff is not hard.  It certainly doesn't call for a pinwheel.



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I grew up in Austin and fortunately don't recall ever seeing that building in person; what good luck I must have! That is absolutely atrocious. It almost looks like a misshapen ninja star that infects it's victims with hideousness. Don't even get me started on those quasi-waffle lighting fixtures *:lol:


Unrelated, this is another one I stumbled upon, 111 West 57th NYC (the skinny tapered one on the right of the photo). Not my photo, I just thought this picture showed how out of place this heinous building looks in the Manhattan skyline.


The proportions of the building are drastically different from the average building in Manhattan. I understand that space is scarce but this is not doing anything to alleviate the Manhattan housing market issue. This building will have only 60 units that cater to ultra-luxury buyers, most of which are not expected to be full time residents... so in addition to being hideous, it is also absolutely useless. Maybe I'm just being whiny because I'm a bigger fan of NYC's older wave of high-rises. 432 Park has slowly grown on me but I don't expect 11 W 57th to. I feel as if these skinny french fry buildings are compromising the integrity of NYC's architecture. 


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